Jun 17, 2011 7:23 PM by David Ortiviz

Construction starts on massive 62-mile pipeline

Construction is underway on a massive underground pipeline designed to meet future water needs in Southern Colorado. It's called the Southern Delivery System. The 62-mile pipeline will run from the Pueblo Dam to Colorado Springs, providing water for the Springs, Fountain, Security and Pueblo West. The estimated cost of the total project is $1.45 billion.

The four communities all own water rights at the Pueblo Reservoir. The future pipeline will act as a faucet for their communities for roughly the next 50-years. "We need an additional way to move that water to our community because our current systems are reaching their full capacity," said Janet Rummel, a spokesperson for the SDS. "Southern Delivery System is needed not only to meet future needs of our communities due to population growth that's expected to occur, but it's also for the reliability of our existing system," she added.

From the reservoir the pipeline will run north through Pueblo West up to Colorado Springs. Phase one, which includes pump stations and a water treatment plant should be finished by 2016.

Rummel says the project will create on average 300 construction jobs each year. "We're very excited that this is going to be a stimulus for the local and regional economies," said Rummel.

The downside for Colorado Springs Utility customers: your water bills are going higher. "It's expected to be about 12% on the water bill each year through 2016," said Rummel. On average, that's an extra $5 on your bill per month.

Colorado Springs Utilities spent two decades planning and studying alternatives and says this was the most affordable option.

Phase two of the project is to build two new reservoirs in El Paso County. Rummel says construction on the reservoirs should start around 2020.

Although it's a lengthy and expensive project, Rummel says it gives communities a reliable water system for years to come. "It's really an investment in our future, for future generations," said Rummel.


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